Apples have an important place in our modern culture. We associate them with education and with health, especially concerning our teeth. Apparently when the apple was being marketed as a fruit, someone decided to talk about how it helped teeth and the fruit was permanently associated with dental health. The fruit is also associated with a very profitable technology company who will remain nameless. My point is that apples are everywhere. Today’s blog article discusses some other interesting things about this common fruit.
They are not the forbidden fruit.
In fact, the Bible doesn’t actually mention what kind of fruit that Adam and Eve ate, it simply says “fruit.” The apple is highly unlikely to be the fruit mentioned as the word doesn’t appear anywhere in the first five books of the Bible. Many experts today suggest that the fruit in question may have actually been a fig or another fruit that commonly grows in the Middle East.
They really can keep the doctor away.
The statement “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” first appeared in the nineteenth century, and the author was not far off. Apples have many health benefits. They support heart health, fight asthma and cancer, and improve bone health, among many other things. Even more benefits are found in apple pectin and apple cider vinegar, but to list them here would require an article in itself.
Kids really did used to give them to their teachers.
There are many reasons for this tradition. For one thing, students’ families were responsible for housing and feeding their teachers, who were not paid very high wages. Apples were welcome gifts from hungry teachers. Also, apples were a commonly grown fruit, whose harvest time coincided with the start of the school year. Thus, a classroom tradition was born.
Celebrities name their kids after them.
Well, one celebrity did, anyway. Gwyneth Paltrow and her ex-husband Chris Martin came up with the name for their daughter in 2004. A lot of people make fun of it, but let’s be honest, there are a lot worse names out there, especially among the rich and famous set.
They are known as pomes.
Apples are related to pears, quinces, and many other fruits known as pomes. A pome is a specific type of fruit known for its fleshy meat, thickened skin, and a central core that encloses an average of five seeds in a small capsule. Pears and apples are so closely related that they can be cross bred. This has led to interesting fruits such as the red pears sometimes sold in supermarkets.
Their seeds can be poisonous under certain circumstances.
Apple seeds actually contain many healthful compounds, but they also contain a substance known as amygdalin, which I have spoken of in previous articles. As a reminder, this compound breaks down into hydrogen cyanide, which is toxic in large amounts. However, eating one or two seeds is probably safe and most people are not going to consume the 80-500 seeds necessary to cause poisoning.
Modern witches use them.
Apples have many uses in witchcraft. They are often used in fertility spells, as well as those promoting wisdom, protection, and love. Apple wood is commonly used to make wands. An apple can also be used as an earth representation in spells, and it is often given as a gift for home blessings. Apples are also said to avert temptation.
Johnny Appleseed was a real person.
There is a lot of legend and folklore surrounding this character, but he was a real historical person. His actual name was John Chapman, and he was a rather shrewd businessman. At the time, landowners who wanted a homestead in Ohio territory were required to plant fifty apple trees on their land. John would move into an area ahead of settlers, plant orchards, and sell the land to prospective homesteaders, saving them a lot of time and effort. He got rich off of this arrangement. As an interesting aside, most of the apples planted were not eating apples, they were used for hard cider. So you could say that Johnny Appleseed introduced booze to Ohio.
Isaac Newton did not get bonked on the head by one.
That being said, the apple story is actually mostly real. According to a story that he told his biographer, he went out to sit and relax in an apple orchard after dinner one day. An apple happened to come loose from a tree and hit the ground in his view and it got him thinking about why this happened in the first place. This eventually helped lead to his theories concerning gravity. So yes, an apple fell, but no, it was not on his head.
There are 200 unique varieties growing in the United States.
These varieties include the common red and golden delicious apples, as well as the Fuji, gala, and Granny Smith. There are over 5,000 apple growers in the United States who grow about 240 million bushels a year. That’s a lot of fruit for us to enjoy! In case you are curious, Washington state grows over half of the country’s apple stock.
I remember one time my mother was talking to another kid’s father about apples calming me down when I was in a bad or hyperactive mood. I overheard the conversation, so when she offered me an apple I vehemently refused to take it, making her look like an ass in front of the guy. However, it was true. I always calmed down when I ate an apple. I just wasn’t about to admit it that afternoon. Because of this story, I will always remember my mom when I think of apples.
Live Science- www.livescience.com
Huffington Post- www.huffpost.com
Medical News Today- www.medicalnewstoday.com
Moody Moons- www.moodymoons.com
Smithsonian Magazine- www.smithsonianmag.com
New Scientist- www.newscientist.com
Agricultural Marketing Resource Center- www.agmrc.org